Last Friday we featured Snow-Camp (opens in a new window) as part of our Olympic games series focusing on community-based organisations using sport for good. Snow-Camp is a charity that uses snowsports, life-skill session, qualifications and vocational opportunities to support inner-city young people to broaden horizons and break down barriers. A week ago we heard from Will, who shared his Snow-Camp experience. Today we hear from Zulekha, aged 17, about her Snow-Camp journey.
Before Snow-Camp I was at college but I didn’t enjoy the college experience at all, it wasn’t for me so I wanted to find something that suited me better.
I heard about Snow-Camp through my youth centre at SYTC-Streatham Youth and Community Trust. My Youth Worker asked me when I was 13 if I wanted to learn to ski and I didn’t know he meant on real snow until I arrived at Hemel Snow Centre! From that first day I was hooked and stayed involved each year with Snow-Camp until I turned 16 and could take part in the Snowsport England ski instructor training they offer!
Since being introduced to Snow-Camp my life has changed positively. I’ve become much more active which has made me healthier and I have become more confident within myself and without Snow-Camp, I don't know where I would be right now. Most likely I wouldn’t be in college as the set up isn't right for me, I would be in a boring job like a lot of my friends.
...I have become more confident within myself and without Snow-Camp, I don’t know where I would be right now.
Before Snow-Camp I didn’t really think about trying out snowsports, it never really crossed my mind living in London. But I liked the sound of snowsports and the thrill skiing gave people and always thought it was interesting. It wasn’t really accessible for me because it was so unheard of in my area and it wasn’t a common sport that anyone I knew of had ever tried before.
It wasn’t really accessible for me because it was so unheard of in my area and it wasn’t a common sport that anyone I knew of had ever tried before.
My favourite Snow-Camp experience was gaining a place on the Excel trainee ski instructor programme – the entire course was fantastic! It was all building up to taking us to Pila, Italy so we could experience the mountains for the first time and be part of shadowing real instructors, so we could see what it was like to work in this amazing environment. The whole course was my favourite experience because of the bond I made with the group of people who were on the course with me and the fact I was going to Italy with people I saw as family. This is a big part of Snow-Camp that it brings everyone together from all over London like one big family.
I am currently a London Snowsports Apprentice with Snow-Camp. Working on all the London programmes as a youth ski instructor, taking an NVQ in Activity Leadership and I am also doing work placement at the Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports shop in St Pauls, where I am learning lots about all of the products and ski/snowboard equipment, along with many new skills in retail and customer service. They have already offered me a part-time job which I’ve taken at the shop, which is great as I really enjoy it there.
I think Snow-Camp approaching youth clubs around the world is a great way of making snowsports more accessible. All we need is more advertisement about the benefits of getting involved in the snowsports industry to increase awareness. It is important because there is so many young people out there who don’t know what they’re doing or what they want from life, like I was. And with Snow-Camp it could make them realise what they want even if it is not within the snowsports industry. You get so many new qualifications to go on your CV and grow in confidence to make you realise you can achieve anything you put your mind to.
Snow-Camp has helped me develop a strong passion for snowsports. My goal is to see myself working somewhere within the snowsports industry once I complete the apprenticeship programme.